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Testimony Needed for Governor’s Listening Tour
September 28, 2005

The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) has repeatedly requested that advocates speak out during the Governor’s Listening Tour to clearly convey the need for behavioral health services and reinforce the need for adequate funding of services. OMHSAS has specifically requested that PCPA step forward to present testimony. It is not too late to submit written testimony for the session in Scranton on September 30. The session is from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center, Koppelman Auditorium, 601 Jefferson Avenue, Scranton, PA. Lunch is not provided.

The Department of Public Welfare (DPW) has limited written testimony submissions to five double-spaced pages in length. Submissions must include the following:

  • The city/town where you will attend the discussion.
  • Your name, professional/volunteer affiliation (if any), and daytime phone number/email address.
  • Whether you require any special accommodations.

Members who submit testimony for the Medicaid listening tour are asked to copy the association.

Written testimony does not have to be elaborate. It should convey members’ concerns and present possible solutions. PCPA has compiled a short list of bullet points that members may want to consider as they prepare testimony.

  • Behavioral health has already had substantial cuts in the current fiscal year, in greater proportion than those experienced in physical health.
  • It is necessary, regardless of payment or funding source, that a full spectrum of behavioral health services be available in every county.
  • The state, along with the counties and their managed care partners, needs to consider how to reduce administrative costs (e.g. reduction of regulations, streamlining of oversight and paperwork requirements) rather than achieving savings through the reduction of services.
  • With the state’s focus on mental health recovery, changing county and state reporting requirements to focus on outcomes rather than process and regulation could achieve administrative savings.
  • The system must assure that dollars remain available for care. This requires a review of the cost drivers in the system to ascertain how savings can be achieved in multiple places.
  • The provider system is a substantial part of the economy in many communities across the commonwealth. An investment in the system, aside from the primary goal of providing treatment and support, is an investment in the economic development of the state.
  • Because of the historical underfunding of the system, Pennsylvania is losing some of its "best and brightest" clinicians to other public systems in nearby states that have funded the system to assure adequate wages.

Testimony may be submitted via email to mapacommunications@state.pa.us, via US Postal Service to Welfare Communications Office, PO Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105, or via fax (Attn: MA Panels) to 717-787-1229.

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